Issuance of the One-Millionth Design Patent

On September 26, 2023, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued U.S. Patent No. D1,000,000. The one-millionth design patent. This design patent was issued to Agustina Huckaby of Fort Worth, Texas, for a dispensing comb. Huckaby, a licensed cosmetologist, markets her business under the federally registered trademark POMP AND POWDER.

The first U.S. design patent was granted to printer George Bruce for a new typeface, or font, back in 1842. Since then, the USPTO has issued design patents for the ornamental appearance of a variety of products including Harley Davidson motorcycles and Eames chairs.

An ornamental design may be embodied in an entire article or only a portion of an article, or may be ornamentation applied to an article. A graphical user interface (“GUI”) that appears on a computer screen also may be an ornamental design that can be protected by a design patent.

The drawings are of primary importance in a design patent application because the drawing illustrate the ornamental design being claimed.

Over 50,000 applications for design patent protection were filed with the USPTO last year. And, as of August 2023, about 80,000 design patent applications are pending at the USPTO which await examination by a patent examiner. For design patent applications filed before May 13, 2015, a design patent lasts 14 years from the date it is issued. For design patent applications filed afterwards, a design patent lasts 15 years from its issuance.

Design patents protect the way something looks, as opposed to how it works (which could be covered instead by a utility patent). The patent attorneys at Thomas P. Howard, LLC know this, and enforce patents and defend against infringement in litigation nationwide including in Colorado.